Fat Tuesday Tipple: Creole Coffee Cocktail

Creole Coffee Cocktail

Laissez le bon temps rouler, Boozers. Beads are flying in New Orleans even as you read this, but most of us are sadly bereft of a true Mardi Gras experience, so we turn instead to the Shrove Tuesday alternative: pancakes.

In the Protestant tradition, pancakes are the preferred meal on the night before Lent, dripping with butter and sugar before 40 days of denial. And, whatever your spiritual beliefs, or non-beliefs, who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner? Even if you don’t participate in a Pancake Race, this is the time to break out your favorite recipe — buckwheat, blueberry, chocolate chip — and load up those carbohydrates.

As excess is the word of the day, a proper cocktail needs to accompany such a treat, something bitter, subtly sweet, and complex enough to balance out the full-fat decadence of a stack of hotcakes. The Creole Coffee Cocktail hits the spot here — we like to use a chicory-based coffee to enhance the nutty flavor, but any dark roast will do. We like to think that this little shot of caffeine will truly help keep the good times rolling until Ash Wednesday sobers us up. Keep your shirts on, Boozers — or not. Carpe Diem!

Creole Coffee Cocktail

2 ounces strong black coffee, cooled

1.5 ounces rye whiskey (we like Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye)

1/2 ounce Nocello walnut liqueur (Frangelico, Kahana Royale, Amaretto, or even Kahlua will work as a substitute)

Dash of Peychaud’s bitters

1/2 a small orange, peeled

orange twist, for garnish

Put the orange in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle; add a couple of ice cubes and the coffee, rye whiskey, Nocello, and bitters, and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with the orange twist.

The Friday Tipple: Tailgater’s Toddy

Tailgater's Toddy

Hang onto your helmets, Boozers. Yep, it’s time for that most hallowed of all American days: Super Bowl Sunday. Even as we write, tortilla chips are being crisped for homemade queso, pots of Mom’s secret chili are bubbling, and charcuterie enthusiasts are eagerly stuffing sausage casings. Let the games begin.

We’re pretty sure that you can’t enjoy football without a beer — or two — and a nice cold one can be tasty when you’re tucked up by the telly with a plate of nachos. But what if you’re tailgating in New Orleans with a portable barbecue brimming with gumbo? Time for a Tailgater’s Toddy, even if the temps are balmy by Baltimore standards.

If you’ve ever trekked through the frosty Eastern European countryside and stopped off at a roadside pub, then you’ll have encountered what can only be described as mulled beer — basically a strong beer that has been simmered with spices and is served warm in a large mug. The flavor is smooth and dark and brimming over with bone-warming richness; with the explosion of craft breweries across the United States, it’s easy to find a lovely local amber or brown ale or perhaps even a porter to serve as the base for this brew. We also add just a tot of brandy, although a bit of bourbon would do just as nicely — it helps ease the pain, just in case your team doesn’t grab that trophy. Touchdown!

Tailgater’s Toddy

We like to use a beer that is somewhat malty but with a bite of hops to it — basically providing a balance of bitter and sweet that melds with the fruit and spices. Check out your local brewery and pick up a growler or two to bring home — brewers love to talk about flavor profiles and can suggest which of their beers will work best in this recipe.

4 cups beer (49ers fans can try 21st Amendment, Ravens fans might go for Heavy Seas)

1 cinnamon stick

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 slice of fresh ginger, about an inch in diameter

2 wedges of apple, such as Granny Smith

1 small orange, sliced in half

2 TB honey (an orange blossom honey is nice if you have it)

1/4 cup brandy or bourbon (we used Catoctin Creek’s Pearousia Brandy for an extra kick of fruit)

Orange wedges for garnish (optional)

Put all ingredients except brandy into a 4-quart saucepan and simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat and add brandy just before serving in mugs or heat-proof glasses with a wedge of orange. Serves 2 – 4; okay, maybe just 1.

Fat Tuesday Tipple: Creole Coffee Cocktail

Laissez le bon temps rouler, Boozers. Beads are flying in New Orleans even as you read this, but most of us are sadly bereft of a true Mardi Gras experience, so we turn instead to the Shrove Tuesday alternative: pancakes.

In the Protestant tradition, pancakes are the preferred meal on the night before Lent, dripping with butter and sugar before 40 days of denial. And, whatever your spiritual beliefs, or non-beliefs, who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner? Even if you don’t participate in a Pancake Race, this is the time to break out your favorite recipe — buckwheat, blueberry, chocolate chip — and load up those carbohydrates.

As excess is the word of the day, a proper cocktail needs to accompany such a treat, something bitter, subtly sweet, and complex enough to balance out the full-fat decadence of a stack of hotcakes. The Creole Coffee Cocktail hits the spot here — we like to use a chicory-based coffee to enhance the nutty flavor, but any dark roast will do. We like to think that this little shot of caffeine will truly help keep the good times rolling until Ash Wednesday sobers us up. Keep your shirts on, Boozers — or not. Carpe Diem!

Creole Coffee Cocktail

2 ounces strong black coffee, cooled

1.5 ounces rye whiskey (we like Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye)

1/2 ounce Nocello walnut liqueur (Frangelico, Kahana Royale, Amaretto, or even Kahlua will work as a substitute)

Dash of Peychaud’s bitters

1/2 a small orange, peeled

orange twist, for garnish

Put the orange in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and muddle; add a couple of ice cubes and the coffee, rye whiskey, Nocello, and bitters, and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with the orange twist.

 

The Friday Tipple: Raspberry Vinegar Rickey

With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the Good Booze kitchen, you might be expecting us to break out the rum and passionfruit to make that classic New Orleans cocktail consumed by the gallon up and down Bourbon Street. However, we’ve decided to adopt a rawther British stiff upper lip and stockpiled gin instead.

The Gin Rickey was recently named as the official cocktail of Washington, DC; this classic combination of gin, lime juice, and club soda is native to DC, created in 1893 by Colonel Joe Rickey and bartender George Williamson at Rickey’s bar, Shoomaker’s, just a stone’s throw from the White House. DC drinks guru Derek Brown likes to call the Rickey “air conditioning in a glass”, as it is particularly refreshing in the midst of our swampy summers, but we think it’s pretty tasty in any weather.

This Friday’s Tipple, the Raspberry Vinegar Rickey, takes advantage of the abundance of late-summer fruit that we used in our recent Roaring Twenties Raspberry Vinegar. Raspberry pairs beautifully with gin, its tart sweetness combining with the gin’s juniper berry essence to create a cool pine forest freshness. We caramelized some lime wheels as a garnish, which add a slightly burnt sugar undertone to counter the acidity of the vinegar.

Mix up a Rickey anytime you’re caught in the middle of a natural disaster. It somehow makes it seem much more… civilized. Pip-pip!

Raspberry Vinegar Rickey

Gin (try Juniper Green Organic or, here in the DC area, Catoctin Creek Watershed)

Roaring Twenties Raspberry Vinegar (didn’t make it yet? we have an alternative below)

Club soda

Lime wheels

Sugar

To make the caramelized limes: Dredge the lime wheels in sugar. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat; when the pan is hot, cook the lime wheels on each side until just lightly golden. They will be a little sticky; set aside to cool (they can also be refrigerated at this point for a day or two).

To assemble the drink: Place the caramelized lime wheel in the bottom of in a tall glass or a large wine glass and lightly muddle the fleshy center, then remove and set aside. Add one tablespoon of Raspberry Vinegar, 1.5 ounces of gin, and stir. Add several ice cubes and top with club soda. Stir well, then top with the reserved lime wheel.

No Raspberry Vinegar? Shame on you. Luckily, we are steeped in American ingenuity, just like old Colonel Rickey, and have a plan. Take four or five fresh raspberries, a 1/2 teaspoon of red wine vinegar, and a teaspoon of sugar and muddle together in the bottom of the glass (after you’ve muddled the lime wheel). Let the sugar dissolve, then complete the rest of the above recipe.